The 2015 Men’s SEC Basketball Championship kicks off tomorrow, March 11th at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Big wins and upsets are known to cause fans to storm the court in celebration, and many coaches and fans think storming the court is good for the game. But, the melee that follows can result in injuries to fans, players, coaches and referees. Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski has expressed concern about potential for harm as a result of fans storming the court. And serious harm has occurred in court storming. For instance, a high school basketball player, Joe Kay was left paralyzed after fans stormed the court following his breakaway dunk to secure a win in a rivalry game.
Storming the court has been a fineable offense in the SEC since 2004. The SEC rule states: “For the safety of participants and spectators alike, at no time before, during or after a contest shall spectators be permitted to enter the competition area.” The first offense fine is $5,000. Additional incidents are fined incrementally at $25,000 and $50,000. The fine is paid by the school.
Ultimately, it is the school and venue’s responsibility to ensure adequate security is on hand to police the crowd and prevent harm from occurring. If they don’t and someone is harmed, liability could ensue. So, enjoy the game, root like heck for your team, but don’t storm the court.
After all, wouldn’t you rather act like you have won before and expect to win again?